How Bernie Sanders Won Hillary’s Vote & 13 other Deep Thoughts on the Democratic Debate

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Originally posted October 13, 2015 on RawStory

If you read one summary of the Democratic Debate, don’t read this one. But if you read a few and want to hear some observations and thoughts, insights and questions, straight from the gut, via the twitter, of Katie Halper you won’t be disappointed.

  • Having GOP debates before is terrible event planning. You put the funnier act last, not first. Dems have no chance.
  • Waiting for the narrator to say, “in a world!”
  • I’m fluent in New York accents and am available for simultaneous translation of
  • Lincoln Chafee is so awkward it’s endearing. He could be a sleeper. Dunno whether to cry or vote for him or both.
  • It’s hard to get excited about a debate when everyone on stage believes in things like vaccines & evolution.
  • “Is anyone else on the stage not a capitalist?” – Music to my ears!
  • “You supported Sandinistas, you said you’re not a capitalist.” Anderson Cooper questioning a candidate? Or me vetting boyfriends?
  • The block of granite known as Lincoln Chafee & the robot inside of Jim Webb’s skin are doing surprisingly well.
  • You know Jim Webb can’t keep the terms “people of color” & “colored people” straight.
  • hearing Bernie Sanders say, “I come from a rural state” in his thick Brooklynese accent is amazeballs.
  • Say “R” where there is no “R”: (idear) Don’t say “R” where there is one: (motha).
  • And that, little children, was how Bernie Sanders won Hillary Clinton’s vote!
  • Did Hillary just humblebrag that she’s made an enemy of a country consisting of over 70 million people?
  • I’m still waiting for to peel off Jim Webb’s skin suit and declare that he’s throwing his hat into the ring.

Here are 5 Christopher Columbus quotes to help you ‘celebrate’ the holiday appropriately

Jon Oliver's Last Week Tonight segment on Columbus Day (HBO)
Jon Oliver’s Last Week Tonight segment on Columbus Day (HBO)
Originally posted October 12, 2015 on RawStory

Happy Columbus Day! I hope you’re celebrating the holiday appropriately, by breaking into someone’s home and claiming that you discovered and now own it! Or you could just, you know, mourn the genocide of indigenous people by shopping. Because we all grieve in different ways.

You’ve probably heard lots of great things about Christopher Columbus and tons of inspiring quotes from him about hard work, god, the sea etc. But those don’t really capture what Columbus and the colonial expansion of which he was part were all about. So, without further ado, allow me to present these quotes that you may not have heard, from or about Christopher Columbus.

1. Conquest: the perfect chaser for expelling Muslims and Jews. You don’t have to be an academic to link Spain’s colonial expansion abroad with its inquisition at home. Columbus made the connection himself. Of course he saw this as a good thing, not a bad one– a killer combo, if you will. He wrote to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain

YOUR HIGHNESSES, as Catholic Christians and Princes who love the holy Christian faith, and the propagation of it, and who are enemies to the sect of Mahoma [Islam] and to all idolatries and heresies, resolved to send me, Cristóbal Colon, to the said parts of India to see the said princes … with a view that they might be converted to our holy faith …. Thus, after having turned out all the Jews from all your kingdoms and lordships … your Highnesses gave orders to me that with a sufficient fleet I should go to the said parts of India …. I shall forget sleep, and shall work at the business of navigation, so that the service is performed.

2. These Natives are so nice, we’d be crazy not to enslave them! This excerpt from Columbus’ diary describes the Arawak people who greeted him and his men:

They … brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks’ bells. They willingly traded everything they owned… . They were well-built, with good bodies and handsome features…. They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They have no iron. Their spears are made of cane… . They would make fine servants…. With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.

3. I was right about how easy that whole subjugation thing would be! In another letter to King Ferdinand, Columbus wrote 

As soon as I arrived in the Indies, in the first island which I found, I took some of the natives by force, in order that they might learn and might give me information of whatever there is in these parts. And so it was that they soon understood us, and we them, either by speech or by signs, and they have been very serviceable.

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Houston cops shoot unarmed black patient in hospital — and then charge him with assault

image via Facebook
image via Facebook

Originally posted September 9, 2015 on RawStory

Alan Pean is a 26-year-old biology student with no criminal record or history of violence. But on August 27th, he was shot in the chest by an off-duty Houston police officer working as a security guard at the St. Joseph Medical Center. The police are claiming that Alan became combative and that they followed standard operating procedure. It’s Alan, they say, who is as fault, and they have charged with two counts of aggravated assault against a public servant. He was arraigned today.

According to the Houston Police Department’s statement,

Officers Ortega and Law were working extra jobs as security at St. Joseph Medical Center at the above address when they were summoned to the eighth floor to help nurses subdue a combative patient.  Once the officers arrived, the patient continued to refuse to comply with the nurses and officers’ demands.  The patient suddenly physically assaulted Officer Ortega, striking him in the head, causing a laceration.  At that time, Officer Law deployed his conducted energy device, which had no apparent effect on the suspect who continued to assault the officers.  Officer Ortega, fearing for his and his partner’s safety, then discharged his duty weapon, striking the suspect one time.

But the family and medical professionals are disturbed by the handling of Alan’s case and what looks like a failure on many levels. Alan had driven himself to the hospital the night of August 26, during an acute mental health crisis. When he got there, he crashed his car and was treated for those injuries. But the mental health issues, which were what brought Alan to the hospital in the first place, were ignored, according to the Pean family. Alan’s father, himself a physician, begged the hospital to get his son a psychiatric evaluation given that Alan had suffered a similar episode in 2009. But the hospital decided he was ready to be discharged, clearing him a mere minutes before the shooting. How did he go from being cleared to leave to so combative that only a bullet could protect two officers?

Medical neglect followed by the use of excessive force led to what could have very easily been a fatal shooting. Health care professionals have started a petition condemning the presence of guns in hospitals and the criminalization of patients and mental health patients in particular. It reads

Personally, we stand in outrage for every time he is referred to as “combative” without sub-clause or context, we stand in outrage for every time he is called a “suspect” instead of a patient, we stand in outrage for every time he, one empty-handed, help-seeking man, is painted as a threat to two officers, able bodied and armed, in a hospital.

Professionally, we have been trained in truth seeking and healing. As doctors and medical students, as nurses and care partners, we are trained in how to safely restrain and tranquilize patients, no matter how aggressive, or irritable, or anxious, or threatening they may be. Never is it appropriate or warranted for a patient to be tazed, never is it appropriate for a patient to be struck, never, never, never is it appropriate for a patient seeking care, to have their life threatened in our arms.

Personally and professionally, we are shaken by the reality of this epidemic of police brutality, in which no one– no son of a doctor, no college student, no tender-hearted soul of color remains immune. We stand with shaken hearts and rooted conviction, to speak our collective outrage for Alan Christopher Pean, our gentle friend, a 26 year old who was inexcusably shot in the chest by a police officer, while seeking care as a patient.”

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Flashback Friday: The ethnic slur that started Rush Limbaugh’s career

Radio host Rush Limbaugh
Radio host Rush Limbaugh
Originally posted on RawStory

As unbelievable as it sounds, Rush Limbaugh got his major break after someone ELSE lost his job for saying something offensive. That someone else was Morton Downey Jr. and the term he used pales in comparison to the racist, sexist and hateful vitriol Limbaugh spews today.

In 1984  NewsTalk 1530 KFBK host Morton Downey Jr. told a racist, unoriginal and unfunny joke on air that involved the word “Chinaman” and a hilarious punchline based on how the inversion of “R” and “L” can turn “surprise” into “supplies.” When City Councilman Tom Chinn called into the show to register his concern with the use of the term Chinaman, Downey Jr. refused to apologize. The next day, however, he held a press conference, apologized and announced he was resigning.

The man who would replace Downey Jr. was Rush Limbaugh, who, of course, has far surpassed Downey’s hatefulness. I’m not sure if Chinaman is in Limbaugh’s repertoire but he more than makes up for it, if it’s not. Limbaugh did mock the speech  of Chinese president Hu Jintao, which he paraphrased as, “Ching cha. Ching chang cho chow. Cha Chow. Ching Cho. Chi ba ba ba. Kwo kwa kwa kee. Cha ga ga. Ching chee chay. Ching zha bo ba. Chang cha. Chang cho chi che. Cha dee. Ooooh chee bada ba. Jee jee cho ba.”  He called Georgetown student and birth control advocate (I can’t believe we need these in the 21st century) Sandra Fluke a slut, though the attack was much more embarrassing for him than for Fluke. Limbaugh’s claim that Fluke was having “so much sex” that she couldn’t “afford her birth control” revealed that Rush didn’t understand how birth control worked and clearly thinks that women use the pill the way he uses his Viagra pill. And, of course, he’s fond of calling the U.S. President Barack Obama the “magic negro.

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At home with Kim Davis: (imagined) conversations with the LGBT-hating Kentucky clerk

image via youtube
image via youtube

Originally posted on RawStory

Kim Davis is currently in jail over her refusal to grant marriage licenses to gays or straights as she protests the very existence of same-sex marriage. Luckily, before heading to the Carter County Detention Center, Kim talked to us about the gays, her four marriages, her Christian rebirth, redemption.


2,000 people (including me) form a human peace sign for John Lennon’s birthday in Central Park and try to break a world record

image via katie's iphone
image via katie’s iphone

Hi Mom! Can you see me in this video below?

Probably not. But I’m there, I swear! As I was taking the crosstown bus in Manhattan this afternoon, a friendly man told me that a bunch of people were going to form a human peace sign at 12:30 in Central Park’s East Meadow to celebrate John Lennon’s birthday and, while they were at it, attempt to break the Guinness World Record. The celebration, organized by the non-profit John Lennon Educational Tour Bus, in partnership with the City of NY and the Mayor’s office, was a little early–Lennon would have been 75 this Friday–and breaking the record would require the participation of over 5,800 people, the number of people who formed a human peace sign at the Ithaca Festival in 2,008.  So, how did it go?

Well, it was a beautiful event and people were refreshingly cooperative when told to stand in the peace sign instead of outside of it to take photos. Some people had selfie sticks to help them capture the moment. I didn’t, so here are some photos and videos I took from the peace sign and some I snagged from a nearby rock before being asked to step down by one of the patient organizers. We were a few thousand short, according to the AP, which counted 2,000 people.  But Yoko Ono, who spoke over a loud speaker, thanked everyone and said, “This is the best birthday present for John.”

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And below is a volunteer leading volunteers to the peace sign. I guess they were trying to take photos. He’s very dedicated and puts his legs into it!

Mexican-American actress Jessica Alba launches beauty line at a Trump hotel cuz not everyone is as radical as Ricky Martin

image via instagram
image via instagram
Originally posted on RawStory

Mexican-American actress Jessica Alba chose to launch her new beauty line at a Trump hotel because not everyone has the radical, separatist, Young Lordsian identity politics of Ricky Martin, Salma Hayek, or Pitbull.

Alba, 34, famous for her roles in Fantastic Four and Sin City,  launched her Honest Beauty cosmetics and skincare line on Wednesday night at the Trump SoHo Hotel in Manhattan. Alba co-founded Honest Company, which sells diapers, bath and body products, in 2011. And just last week, that company was hit with a lawsuit over claims that its sunscreen is defective.

But, as far as I know, nobody has brought up a less burning, if you will, but still troubling Jessica-Alba-Business-related question: why would you choose to hold an event for anything at any place associated with Donald Trump? Why would anyone do that? The nice thing about the Donald, is that he is such a renaissance man of hate, you don’t have to be Latino to be offended by him. Indeed, model Chrissy Teigen, actors Jeffrey Wright, Aaron Paul, Rosie O’Donnell, singer Neil Young, and rapper Flo Rida are but a few of the non-Latino celebrities who have condemned the mogul.

But Trump’s sexism and more generalized racism pale in comparison to his anti-immigrant and particularly anti-Latino and even more particularly anti-Mexican vitriol and policy plans. Among Trump’s high profile Latino critics, journalist Jorge Ramos, who has been dubbed the Walter Cronkite of Latino America, is probably the most politically informed and grounded. But you don’t have to be an immigrants-rights advocate-intellectual to be upset by what Trump has to say about Mexicans and Latinos, which is why actors Eva Longoria (Mexican-American), Salma Hayek (Mexican),  America Ferrera (Honduran-American), comedian George Lopez (Mexican-American), singers Shakira (Colombian), Ricky Martin (Puerto Rican) and rapper Pitbull (Cuban-American) have criticized Trump.

essica Alba has been accused of distancing herself from her Latina identity (or lack thereof), over comments like,

Alba is my last name and I’m proud of that. But that’s it. My grandparents were born in California, the same as my parents, and though I may be proud of my last name, I’m American.


I had a very American upbringing, I feel American, and I don’t speak Spanish. So, to say that I’m a Latina actress, OK, but it’s not fitting; it would be insincere.


My grandfather was the only Mexican at his college, the only Hispanic person at work and the only one at the all-white country club. He tried to forget his Mexican roots, because he never wanted his kids to be made to feel different in America. He and my grandmother didn’t speak Spanish to their children. Now, as a third-generation American, I feel as if I have finally cut loose.”

As a non-Latina, I’m certainly not in a position to lecture anyone about how to be a good or authentic Latina. And I can’t force anyone to speak out against Donald Trump, though refraining from mocking him would be nearly impossible for me personally. But is it asking too much to hope and expect that celebrities, regardless of their ethnicity, hold their events at the venues that are not owned by Trump?

Study: Black kids are given less pain medication than white kids in ER (or your daily dose of more proof that racism isn’t over)


A study released Monday shows that Black children are given less painkillers than white children when being treated for acute appendicitis, an extremely painful inflammation of the appendix.  While several studies have looked at the racial disparity in pain management among adults, this study focuses on the phenomenon among children. And it turns out that both Black children and Black adults can look forward to racial bias and racist treatment when seeking medical attention.

The article published online by JAMA Pediatrics on Monday presents a study which used data from the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey from 2003 to 2010 to look at the use of opioid analgesia (which includes medications like Percocet ) and nonopioid analgesia (which includes over the counter household medicine like Tylenol).

Of an estimated almost 1 million children evaluated in Emergency Departments (EDs) who were diagnosed with appendicitis, 56.8 percent of patients received some for of analgesia and 41.3 percent received opioid analgesia. Among the patients with moderate pain, Black children were less likely to receive any analgesia than white children. Among the patients with severe pain, Black children were less likely to receive opioids(12.2 percent) than white children (33.9 percent.)

According to the study,

Our findings suggest that there are racial disparities in opioid administration to children with appendicitis, even after adjustment for potential confounders. More research is needed to understand why such disparities exist. This could help inform the design of interventions to address and eliminate these disparities and to improve pain management for all youths.

… although clinicians may recognize pain equally across racial groups, they may be reacting to the pain differently by treating black patients with nonopioid analgesia, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen, while treating white patients with opioid analgesia for similar pain.”

Eric W. Fleegler, M.D., M.P.H., and Neil L. Schechter, M.D., of Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, asked in an editorial about the study,

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15 hilarious and surprising moments from the horrifying GOP debate

Donald Trump and Jeb Bush debate on CNN
Donald Trump and Jeb Bush debate on CNN
Originally posted September 15, 2015 on RawStory

Wednesday night’s GOP debate was, as usual, excruciating and endless. But here are three hours of hell boiled down into some important take-aways, life lessons, and teachable moments.

1. Mike Huckabee’s / analogy works so well once inmates are paid $80,000/yr to issue marriage licenses

2. Marco Rubio’s family “fled from Cuba” before Castro was in power. .

3. Marco Rubio’s slipping in “instead of leaving it to some translator at ” is equivalent of adding “in bed”

4. “I’d rather go to Iraq than work for Carly Fiorina again.” former staffer on not getting paid by Fiorina

5. “It’s all about America.” Ben Carson’s alternative to throat clearing or “ummm”

6. Big ups to for going with a more natural hair shade.

7. Ben Carson’s doing really well for someone who downed 700 mgs of Quaaludes & is being fed responses through an invisible earpiece

8. Well, I’d say a blob of cells, not tissue. But, sure. Close enough.

9. The real litmus test is if Huckabee & other pseudo Christians sees human life as human life once it’s born.

10. That awkward moment when you get an ideological ladyboner for (, )

See the rest at RawStory

These 37 tweets show how the pharma CEO gouging AIDS patients is even worse than you think

Hedge fund manager turned drug exec Martin Shkreli  - Twitter
Hedge fund manager turned drug exec Martin Shkreli – Twitter
Originally posted on Rawstory

It turns out that Martin Shkreli, the former hedge manager turned pharmaceutical businessman who jacked the price of a life-saving drug from $13.50 per tablet to $750, is actually worse than we thought.

His tweets can be broken down into three sometimes overlapping main categories: (1) Tweets about how rich he is, (2) Tweets in which he compares himself to rapper Eminem and rapper Chamillionaire and describes his critics as jealous haters who shouldn’t f*** with him, (3) Retweets of other people’s tweets which praise him and attack his critics. Let’s take a look, shall we?

(1) Tweets about how rich he is:



MS 1-3

MS 1-5



MS 1-7
I donated a total of $5,000,000 to various causes recently. Looking forward to telling you all about it. — Martin Shkreli (@MartinShkreli) September 15, 2015


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