Mary Turck's blog

Torture done in our name

The long-secret “torture report” from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence is out. Sort of. The full report, still classified, is 6700 pages of “comprehensive and excruciating detail.” What we got on December 9 was a mere 525 pages of Findings and Conclusions and Executive Summary. Even with lots of names and details neatly blacked out, this gut-twisting account shines an unforgiving light on evil done in our name.

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Beyond press release journalism and official stories

Police break up Colorado drug ring! Oops — no, they didn’t. What actually happened: police arrested 40 people on the basis of unreliable and vindictive informants, splashed their names and faces all over local front pages and TV news, and later dismissed all the charges. This story of policing — journalism — gone wrong demonstrates the perils of relying on the “official story.”

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The thousand dollar pill

Vox tells the story: a miracle pill that cures hepatitis C restored normal life, liver function, the ability to walk, and even hair to 74-year-old Philip Mason. The new drug, Sovaldi, sells for a thousand dollars per pill or $84,000 for the full course of treatment, making billions of dollars in profits for its owner, the Gilead drug company. That makes Sovaldi the latest example of the runaway greed and profit-taking by drug companies.

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It's not over

On the day that President John F. Kennedy was shot, November 22, 1963, a classmate told me that she could see why I was upset, as I was a Democrat, like the president. But why should she, a Republican, feel bad? Something like that is going on now, with the Ferguson/Michael Brown grief and protests. Now, as in 1963, the voices that say “their sorrow, their problem, not mine” are wrong. We are all in this together.

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Never give up: #Ferguson and the morning after

What can any one person do in the face of #Ferguson and grief over a child’s death and despair over a country’s continuing racism and failure? What can any white person say, in the face of so much white failure, white racism, white guilt?

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Mr. President: Act now on immigration

With the election over, President Obama has no good reason to delay executive orders to mitigate the harsh application of current immigration laws. Every day that he delays means more families torn apart by deportation. He cannot change the immigration law itself — only Congress could do that, and they won’t. But the president can and must use his executive power to change the way that the current law is applied. That is now the only way to stop deportation of family members and longtime U.S. residents and to protect refugees and asylum seekers fleeing violence and terror in Mexico and Central America.

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A passionate 'genius'

Volunteering at a rape crisis center in college changed Sarah Deer’s life. She worked with rape victims, heard their stories, accompanied them through trials. The crisis center was “grass-roots, tiny,” Deer says, but its influence was huge. Her work there set her on the road to becoming a lawyer and, this year, winning the prestigious MacArthur Foundation fellowship commonly known as a “genius grant.”

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Connecting health, equity and transportation

The increase in the minimum wage is the biggest public health legislation passed in the last legislative session, according to Minnesota health commissioner, Dr. Ed Ehlinger. Moving from lowest twenty percent income level to the second-lowest twenty percent income increases life expectancy by three years. Public health is also closely tied to transportation, said Ehlinger in his keynote address to the October 25 St. Paul Healthy Transportation for All forum. His insights offer a lot of food for thought.

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Subverting Obamacare — watch out for dirty tricks

The weekend brought news of two dirty tricks that could cheat people out of the health care coverage they need.

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Ebola and E. Coli

Ebola has killed one person in the United States, and two more are infected and being treated. E. coli killed two children in Oregon in September, and at least one more child is in serious condition. The CDC estimates that every year almost 48 million Americans get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die from food-borne illnesses, including E.coli, salmonella, campylobacter and others.

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