Nurse Pens Powerful Post About Flu Shot

Oct. 11, 2019 — “The flu shot is NOT always about you. It’s about protecting those around you, who cannot always protect themselves.”

A nurse’s Facebook post is going viral after she penned a powerful statement urging everyone to get a flu shot.

Amanda Bitz writes that we shouldn’t just get vaccinated to keep ourselves healthy. Instead, it’s “for the grandparents, whose bodies are not what they used to be, and they just can’t kick an illness in the butt like when they were young. For the 30 year old, with HIV or AIDS, who has a weakened immune system. For the 25-year-old mother of three who has cancer. She has absolutely zero immune system because of chemotherapy.”

Bitz goes on to build her case, citing heart-wrenching example after example, before concluding that everyone needs to do their part to keep others safe. “I have been in the room as a patient has passed away, because of influenza. I have watched patients struggle to breathe, because of influenza,” she writes. “Herd immunity is a thing. Influenza killing people is a thing. You getting the flu shot, should be a thing.”

As of Friday afternoon, the post had been shared more than 82,000 times and had more than 1,200 comments.

The flu can be deadly and cause serious illness, but vaccination rates remain low. Last season, 45.3% of adults 18 and older received flu vaccinations, according to the CDC. The rate was higher among children 6 months through 17 years: 62.6%.

A recent CDC study found that roughly two-thirds of pregnant women in the U.S. don’t get vaccinated against the flu — which puts them and their babies at risk. When pregnant women get the flu shot, it reduces their newborns’ risk of being hospitalized due to the virus by an average of 72%.

The agency recommends that everyone over the age of 6 months get vaccinated — if their health allows — and says vaccination is especially important for people with a high risk for serious complications, including young kids, adults over the age of 65, people with underlying medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, and heart disease, and pregnant women.

Last year’s flu season lasted a whopping 21 weeks — the longest in a decade. But health officials aren’t sure how long this one will last or how bad it will be. Each flu season varies, but it usually starts in October, peaks between December and February, and lasts as late as May.

While flu activity is still low in the U.S., the CDC warns that Australia experienced an early start to its 2019 flu season and that, because influenza is unpredictable, circumstances can change very quickly.


Facebook, Amanda Catherine Bitz, Ocober 7, 2019.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Flu Symptoms & Diagnosis.”

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Update: Influenza Activity — United States and Worldwide, May 19–September 28, 2019, and Composition of the 2020 Southern Hemisphere Influenza Vaccine.”

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Flu Treatment.”

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Low Rates of Vaccination During Pregnancy Leave Moms, Babies Unprotected.”

CDC, “Update: Influenza Activity in the United States During the 2018–19 Season and Composition of the 2019–20 Influenza Vaccine.”

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “The Flu Season.”

© 2019 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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WebMD Health

Axe Drops on First Round of Layoffs Post Disney-Fox Acquisition

The Walt Disney Company has begun laying off senior level executives at Fox following its $ 71.3 billion acquisition of the studio, completed on Tuesday. The first round enacted Thursday affected about two dozen people at the 20th Century Fox lot in Century City, Los Angeles Times learned from unnamed sources.

Those receiving notices and severance include Chris Aronson, President of Domestic Theatrical Distribution, who has been at Fox since 2005; Pam Levine, President of Marketing; Andrew Cripps, Head of International Distribution; Heather Philips, Head of Domestic Theatrical Publicity; Kevin Campbell, Co-President of Marketing; Mike DUnn, Head of Product Strategy; Tony Sella, Chief Content Officer; and Greg Meidel, President of 20th Television.

More than 3,000 people are expected to be dismissed from Fox as the new owners aim for “at least $ 2 billion in cost synergies by 2021 from operating efficiencies realized through the combination of businesses.” Over the next weeks and months, cuts are expected to hit hard in heavy overlap departments such as distribution, home video and marketing.

A memo from Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn and President Alan Bergman acknowledged that the takeover of Fox film, television, FX, etc. will involve “quite a bit of change.”

With the announcement that the Disney-Fox deal is officially complete, we begin an exciting new chapter in the history of both our companies and the industry. This is a major piece of the bold strategy Bob Iger has set for the Walt Disney Co. as our business rapidly evolves.

It’s astounding and humbling to consider the rich, dynamic legacies of these storied studios and the endless possibilities ahead as we unite them. It’s not something we take for granted as leaders, and we are looking forward to working together to build a team of unparalleled creativity and innovation.

We’ve learned a lot in meetings held prior to deal close, yet there are many things that could not be discussed for regulatory reasons. We are happy to now have the chance to really understand and share how we operate at the ground level — and we realize we are only at the beginning of the process.

Although there is much to look forward to, we know this integration will entail quite a bit of change across our organizations. We want to acknowledge that and assure you we are committed to engaging in this process thoughtfully and communicating changes as we are able — most importantly with respect for all involved.

We’ll be making announcements very soon about our senior leadership structure. It will take some time to reach our future fully integrated state. Day-to-day, our top priorities remain the same: to support the great content we’re creating and deliver a superb experience to our consumers, and to continue to build an inspiring, inclusive environment where employees can bring their best to work every day.

As we start this journey of bringing together the combined might of Disney and 21st Century Fox to create the best entertainment studio, we’d like to thank you all for everything you’ve done to bring us to this point and for your continued focus, support, and patience as we proceed.


Alan Horn

Chairman, the Walt Disney Studios A

lan Bergman

President, the Walt Disney Studios

[Source: Los Angeles Times]

Animation Magazine

Legend 3D Makes Key Hires: Post Director Meetal Gokul, VFX Supe Jay Mehta

Legend 3D welcomes two multiple award-winning creatives to key positions in its global organization, with the addition of Meetal Gokul as Director of Post Production and Senior Colorist in its Hollywood facility, and Jay Mehta as VFX Supervisor at its Pune, India studio. That announcement was made by CEO Aidan Foley. Gokul will work closely with Legend’s Office of Operations heads Jeff Shapiro (Production) and Jeremy Nicolaides (Creative). Mehta will report in to Los Angeles-based Creative Director Simon Kern and its executive management team.

“Meetal and Jay add so much value to the Legend organization, and, more importantly, to our clients,” said Foley. “Their experience in all facets of visual effects and post production will enable an enhanced menu of services for the studios and brands with whom we have the privilege of working. As a result, Legend will now offer both Color Grading and Digital Intermediates (DI) in addition to our expanding menu of VFX and 3D conversion work.”

An internationally renowned colorist and stereographer, Meetal Gokul bring an enormous wealth of knowledge and experience to the Legend team from his work in London, Mumbai, Cardiff, Wellington, Toronto and Los Angeles at such studio facilities as Park Road Post Production, Futureworks, Dragon DI, Stereo D/Deluxe and Southbay Motion Picture Technologies, and software/hardware creators Quantel. He’s worked with Academy Award-winning director Peter Jackson on his Hobbit trilogy, serving as Head of Stereography and a key member of the team that won the prestigious Advanced Imaging Society Award for creating the world’s first 4K, HFR 3D workflow. He also worked closely with Jackson and Steven Spielberg on The Adventures of Tintin 3D, as well as with Andrew Adamson and James Cameron on Cirque du Soleil, World Away 3D.

In addition to Hollywood blockbusters, Gokul has teamed with several international directors including Goldie Behl on Drona, India’s first 4K VFX action film; with Andrew Jones on his BAFTA Award-winning independent film The Feral Generation; and Taika Waititi on Boy and What We Do in the Shadows. Most recently, Gokul teamed up with Andrew Young, a Giant Screen IMAX filmmaker, to create visually stunning color for the multi award-winning (including Best Cinematography and VFX) film Backyard Wilderness.

Jay Mehta has served as a member of VFX teams which have earned an Academy Award (Life of Pi) and an Academy Award nomination (Snow White and the Huntsman) in the same year (2013); as well as a BAFTA Award and an Academy Award (The Golden Compass) in the same year (2008). He joins Legend following a five-year tenure at Base FX in Beijing, China, most recently as VFX Supervisor on such theatrical films as Aquaman, The Great Wall and Equals, the television series Agent Carter (nominated for a Visual Effects Society Award for Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Photoreal Episode) and Black Sails, and the Stereo 4K theme park ride Streets of Fury.

Previously, Mehta spent over seven years at the groundbreaking VFX shop Rhythm & Hues, Mumbai, starting as a paint and roto artist, later moving to compositing and other leadership roles. There he amassed credits working on such films as Life of Pi, Snow White and the Huntsman, The Golden Compass, Evan Almighty, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, Land of the Lost, The Incredible Hulk, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, Mr. Popper’s Penguins and Big Miracle. In addition to managing the creative aspects, Mehta has demonstrated equal strength in pre-production management, crew planning, bidding on prospective projects, and working directly with the directors and client-side VFX supervisor.

Animation Magazine

Medicare to Require Hospitals Post Prices Online

U.S. hospitals will have to post their standard prices online and make it easier for patients to access their electronic medical records, Medicare officials said Tuesday.

Currently, hospitals must make their prices public, but the new rule requires the information to be posted online in a format that can be easily processed by computers, the Associated Press reported.

However, hospitals’ standard prices aren’t what insurers and government programs pay, so it’s unclear how useful consumers will find the online pricing information.

Many health care providers already give patients access to their electronic medical records, but hospitals’ Medicare payments will be partly based on how easy they make it for patients to get those records. That requirement begins in 2021, the AP reported.

Also on Tuesday, it was announced that Medicare is launching a review of how it will pay for an expensive new type of immunotherapy for cancer. CAR-T, a gene therapy that boosts the immune system to attack cancer, can cost more than $ 370,000 per patient.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

WebMD Health

California Coffee Shops Must Post Cancer Warnings

Friday, March 28, 2018 — Coffee sellers in California must post warnings that coffee may pose a cancer risk, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elihu Berle’s verdict came after an eight-year legal battle between a small nonprofit group and the coffee industry, the Associated Press reported.

The Council for Education and Research on Toxics sued to force the industry to either remove a known carcinogen called acrylamide from coffee or to warn consumers about the chemical that’s produced when coffee beans are roasted.

The industry argued that the level of acrylamide in coffee isn’t harmful and that any risks are outweighed by benefits, the AP reported.

In his ruling, Berle said the coffee industry didn’t make a strong enough case.

“While plaintiff offered evidence that consumption of coffee increases the risk of harm to the fetus, to infants, to children and to adults, defendants’ medical and epidemiology experts testified that they had no opinion on causation,” Berle wrote in his proposed ruling.

“Defendants failed to satisfy their burden of proving … that consumption of coffee confers a benefit to human health,” he stated.

The defendants, which include Starbucks and 90 other companies, have a few weeks to challenge the ruling before it is final. Many coffee shops in California have already posted warnings saying that acrylamide is cancer-causing chemical found in coffee, the AP reported.

The coffee companies have said it’s not feasible to remove acrylamide from coffee without affecting taste, but the lawyer who led the lawsuit said that’s not true.

“I firmly believe if the potato chip industry can do it, so can the coffee industry,” said Raphael Metzger said, the AP reported. “A warning won’t be that effective because it’s an addictive product.”

Potato chip makers were forced to remove acrylamide after the Council for Education and Research on Toxics sued them years ago.

While there is no firm evidence on whether coffee is good or bad for you, the World Health Organization removed coffee from its “possible carcinogen” list in 2016, the AP reported.

Research shows that coffee is unlikely to cause breast, prostate or pancreatic cancer, and it may lower the risk of liver and uterine cancers, according to the WHO. There is not enough evidence to ascertain the relationship between coffee and dozens of other types of cancer.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

WebMD Health

A golden idea? Museum offered 18-karat toilet to Trump: Washington Post

(Reuters) – New York’s Guggenheim Museum offered to lend an 18-karat gold toilet to President Donald Trump after the White House asked to borrow a painting by Vincent Van Gogh, the Washington Post reported on Thursday.

The museum’s chief curator offered to loan the toilet, which had been used by tens of thousands of visitors, in a Sept. 15 email to a Trump administration official, the newspaper reported.

A Guggenheim spokeswoman declined immediate comment on the Washington Post report and White House officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

It was not clear how the White House responded to the Guggenheim curator’s offer.

The piece, by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan‘s, is an 18-karat gold, fully functioning toilet. It is called “America.”

FILE PHOTO: Maurizio Cattelan’s “America,” a fully functional solid gold toilet is seen at The Guggenheim Museum in New York City, U.S., August 30, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

It was put on display in 2016 in a single-stall bathroom at the Guggenheim, where it was used in private luxury by more than 100,000 people, according to a Guggenheim blog post. The museum said the object, which was on display for a year, “skewers social complacencies” and the extravagances of the wealthy.

Trump, a real estate developer turned reality television star, campaigned for president as a savvy businessman with the commercial sense to succeed in the White House. His exact personal wealth is unknown.

The offer came in response to a White House request to borrow the painting “Landscape with Snow” by 19th century Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh, for installation at the president and first lady’s private living quarters, the Washington Post reported. The request for the painting was declined.

Guggenheim chief curator Nancy Spector had previously written about the toilet in a 2017 blog post, in which she took swipes at the president. She wrote that the “Trump reference” inherent in the gold toilet resonated with people “during the sculpture’s time at the Guggenheim.”

“When the sculpture came off view on Sept. 15, Trump had been in office for 238 days, a term marked by scandal and defined by the deliberate rollback of countless civil liberties, in addition to climate-change denial that puts our planet in peril,” Spector wrote.

Trump is known to have a taste for gold and gilded objects. On Christmas Eve, he took calls from children while seated on a gold chair in a tapestried room at his Florida vacation home.

Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Editing by Scott Malone and Susan Thomas

Reuters: Oddly Enough

The Washington Post Just Called Out the Attorney General Over Marijuana

Despite the fact The Washington Post sometimes writes about marijuana in flawed ways, the news group did a good thing on Tuesday by calling out Attorney General Jeff Sessions over his recent comments relating to marijuana.

“I see a line in The Washington Post today that I remember from the ’80s,” Sessions said Tuesday. “‘Marijuana is a cure for opiate abuse.’ Give me a break. This is the kind of argument that’s been made out there to just — almost a desperate attempt to defend the harmlessness of marijuana or even its benefits. I doubt that’s true. Maybe science will prove I’m wrong.”

This is after Sessions said Monday that marijuana legalization is causing “real violence.” (Legalization has actually hurt the cartels.) This bad dude isn’t wasting any time pissing off the cannabis community.

Since Sessions appeared to not know the science and admitted he may be wrong, which he is, The Washington Post decided to show him the science.

The Post’s first point: “Marijuana is great at treating chronic pain.”

The main thing the Post points to to prove cannabis is good for treating chronic pain is a National Academies of Science, Medicine and Engineering study that looked at all available studies that focused on using marijuana to treat chronic pain. That study found there is “strong evidence” that marijuana is useful for treating chronic pain.

Second point: “States with medical marijuana laws see fewer opiate deaths.

As we’ve pointed out many times, states with medical marijuana typically have less opiate deaths than those that do not. The Post points to a major study that found between 1999 and 2010, medical marijuana states had 25 percent fewer opiate deaths than the states that didn’t have medical marijuana during that time.

Third point: “Access to medical marijuana dispensaries is associated with less prescription painkiller abuse, and fewer overdose deaths.”

Here the Post points to a paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research that showed when citizens have easy access to dispensaries, the number of people going to substance abuse treatment centers can decrease by up to 35 percent.

Fourth point: “Medical marijuana is associated with fewer opiate-induced car crashes.”

“A 2016 Columbia University paper zeroed in on a different facet of the substance abuse problem — auto accidents,” the Post writes. “The researchers found that after a state passes a medical marijuana law, fewer drivers in those states test positive for opioids after fatal car crashes.”

There are two more points (studies showing less painkiller use in medical states and among cannabis users), but you get the idea. It’s clear if Jeff Sessions wants to see the real science behind why marijuana legalization would be great for tackling the opioid epidemic and would actually reduce violence, he doesn’t have to do a lot of research. Maybe the 70-year-old just doesn’t know how to use a computer.

The 420 Times

Xilam Series Post Record YouTube Numbers


Paris-based animation producer Xilam has crunched its digital distribution numbers, and has found that its shows are performing exceptionally well with viewers worldwide — just as they have for over 20 years on traditional TV channels across the globe.

On YouTube, Xilam series primarily aimed at small children (0-3) and families have accumulated 3.5 billion views and 23 billion minutes watched (an average of 6+ minutes per viewing) — an unprecedented record for a French company. And Xilam’s global reputation is clearly growing: in the first half of 2016, YouTube views for its content topped 1.1 billion, a 159% increase over the first half of 2015 (215 million views).

Among the most popular Xilam properties available to kids and families on YouTube are Oggy and the Cockroaches and Zig & Sharko, which have distinguished themselves by joining the ranks of the most-watched series on YouTube worldwide. These two shows watched most by viewers in the US, Southeast Asia, and Western Europe, and already boast more than 1.2 million active subscribers.

Given these strong performances, Xilam — already a long-time strategic partner for YouTube — will be a benchmark partner for the launch of the new YouTube Kids app in France. Xilam’s catalog will naturally be well represented on the kid-safe iOS/Android app at its launch by Oggy and the Cockroaches and Zig & Sharko. These hit shows have already contributed to the app’s successful launch in the US, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Spain.

In response to the growing demand for content on digital platforms, Xilam established a dedicated team tasked with creating original content as well as maximizing its existing catalog. Thus, the company today boasts 20 channels on YouTube and close to 15 active social media fan communities, like its 3.3 million-follower Facebook group.

“With the digital revolution and changing usage, Xilam enjoys direct and privileged access to the final consumer,” said F. Xavier de Maistre, Director of Marketing & Digital. “This major transformation allows Xilam to add to its model of B to B content production a B to C model that opens new growth prospects. It also gives us access to a more refined and immediate understanding of the expectations of our audience.”

In addition to its success on YouTube, Xilam is also a major player on leading SVOD platforms as one of the principal French content suppliers to Netflix and Amazon, which both feature a broad range of Xilam animation.

Oggy and the Cockroaches

Oggy and the Cockroaches

Animation Magazine

People on the Move: Blink Ink, Disney/ABC, FuseFX, marblemedia, Post Factory, ZDF

  • Academy Award nominated animator PES has signed on to Blinkink following recent spots for Honda and Android. Known for his ability to reimagine everyday objects in wholly new ways for his stop-motion masterpieces like Fresh Guacamole, Roof Sex, KaBoom! and Human Skateboard, PES’s videos have racked up over 200 million views on YouTube — not to mention on the festival circuit and in commercials for brands including Orange Telecom, Kinder Surprise, PlayStation, Sprint, Samsung and Bacardi. Most recently, he earned an Emmy nomination for “Paper” for Honda this year. Check out his reel online.
  • Disney/ABC Television Group is bolstering its digital programming services division by hiring on technology executives John Solaro and Roger Tsai, who will both report to EVP of digital media strategy & business John Frelinghuysen. Formerly at Microsoft, Solaro is now head of user experience and product innovation for D/ABC TV’s Digital Media group and will lead a team integrating visual, interactive and motion design and innovation across multi-platform products, as well as spearheading incorporation of non-linear, mobile, DTC and cloud products. d hails from media tech company Gracenote, where he led connected car projects, and is now VP of digital strategy, business planning and operations for the Digital Media division. He will head a team tasked with identifying, developing and executing new digital business strategies.
  • FuseFX continues to grow its Vancouver operation with the hire of Shawn Hillier as Senior VFX Supervisor and Maya Roza as Compositing Supervisor. Hillier joins after a 15-year stint at ILM, where he contributed to blockbusters including Jurassic World, Pacific Rim, Star Trek, Transformers, Star Wars: Episode III and the first three Pirates of the Caribbean films. He will now supervise vfx production for TV projects including Syfy series The Magicians and Dark Matter. Roza arrives from a similar position at Double Negative, bringing over 10 years of experience in vfx, with credits including The Huntsman, The Fifth Wave, Jurassic World, Chappie, Elysium and Twilight: Breaking Dawn, Pt. 1. A Vancouver native, Roza has also held staff positions at Image Engine Design, Prime Focus World and Atomic Cartoons.
  • Canadian production company marblemedia has appointed Donna MacNeil to the newly created position of VP of Marketing and Strategic Development. MacNeil will create brand marketing initiatives to grow business and drive new revenue for the company and its subsidiaries Distribution360 and marblemedia Interactive — especially DTC video, games and apps. She most recently held the same position at Mark Media in Toronto, and was previously the youth marketing consultant for Youth Lab, as well as holding senior executive positions at Spin Master and Kidscreen.
  • Post Factory, a SIM Group company, has tapped Liam Ford as CTO, charged with overseeing planned expansion of the studio’s color grading and finishing services. Bringing over a decade of post-production engineering and IT experience — most recently as Vice President of Technology at Company 3 in New York –Ford will assume the lead role in technology operations, strategy and planning.
  • Post Factory has also appointed David Feldman as SVP for Features and Television. Previously director of feature sales for Company 3 and Deluxe, Feldman will lead sales and customer relations for newly-expanded features and TV finishing services at Post Factory New York. He will also liaise with other SIM companies to provide film and TV producers with packaged services covering multiple aspects of production and post. Feldman brings 20 years of post experience in executive level roles, and spent his early career as an assistant editor with credits on films for Fox, Sony, Universal, Disney, et al. Post Factory’s current projects include Collateral Beauty, Keeping Up with the Joneses, Gifted and The Wall.
  • ZDF Enterprises has promoted Tanja Meier-Sieden to the leadership of its newly created Portfolio Management department. The 35-year old holds a degree in business administration and has been with the company since 2007, most recently managing the Business Development and Affiliates unit, assigned to the Executive Board. Meier-Sieden will report directly to President and CEO Alexander Coridass. ZDF Enterprises has direct participation in 12 associated companies, producing fiction, documentaries and children’s programs.
Liam Ford

Liam Ford

David Feldman

David Feldman

Donna MacNeil

Donna MacNeil

John Solaro and Roger Tsai

John Solaro and Roger Tsai

Animation Magazine

Washington Post writer says 124 potheads in New Zealand should steer US marijuana policy making


Just when a corporate giant like the New York Times begins to restore your faith in the main stream media, along comes another Sunday episode of Meet The Press to leave you stopping in mid-toke to scream at your TV.

The channel cannot change fast enough when someone like John McCain is being asked, for some damn reason, for his opinion on foreign policy, yet not being asked how the hell he thought that bringing us Sarah Palin was a good idea. This week, however, the topic turned to pot, and guest panelist and Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus gave us all a renewed hatred for out of touch journalists.

Wooden-puppet-who-just-wants-to-be-a-real-boy, and host of Meet The Press, David Gregory, brought up the recent announcement by the New York Times regarding their decision to endorse the nationwide legalization of weed in a series of articles and discussions to be released over the course of this week.

Almost leaping out of her seat to contradict her journalistic adversaries, Marcus quickly opined that while she doesn’t “have a huge problem with letting states experiment”, she added, “But I think for states to decide to go the full legalization route is a problem precisely for my mommy reason.”

Menopause? Bad digestion? Horrible choice in jeans? No…the kids! She’s worried about the kids!

“It is a vast social experiment,” Marcus told millions of viewers regarding the states where various forms of marijuana legalization have occurred. “We do not know the outcome except that the best evidence is that you lose — if you use marijuana as a teenager regularly — eight IQ points.”

Any decent producer would have inserted a record-scratch effect and cut her mic.
Any decent host would have at least asked her to provide a source for such a claim.
But alas, “If it’s Sunday, it’s Meet The Press”.

Had host David Gregory asked for Marcus’s source, and if she actually knows the real source of that oft-debunked stat, then the millions of impressionable viewers would have learned that those figures were taken from a 2012 study done on people born in a small village in New Zealand…in the 1970’s.

That study looked at IQ tests taken by this miniscule sampling of people when they turned 13 years old. Over the next two and a half decades they were periodically interviewed by researchers to determine if they were currently on drugs. Super-duper scientific. Then, when they turned 38, they had their IQ’s tested again.

The researchers then omitted anyone from the results who admitted to using “hard drugs”. Then they purposely pulled all known high school dropouts into their control group. Of that highly pared down slice of an already ridiculously insignificant sample, they found that those who admitted to smoking weed every week before the age of 18 did indeed have lower IQs.

Of course, to be fair, Gregory and Meet The Press never afford that kind of time to allow the truth to be told. They surely didn’t allow enough time to continue the narrative by telling the viewers at home that just one year after this silly study in New Zealand, reputable economist Ole Rogeburg put out a study of his own showing that disparity in socioeconomic status has the same effect on IQ levels…and dropout rates!

Simply put, kids from poorer households tend to show lower IQ levels. Pretty damn relevant to the discussion. Certainly more relevant than polling the honesty of 124 alleged potheads from down under.

Instead, the lowbrow discussion on Meet The Press devolved even further into a series of half baked puns and G-rated wisecracks about weed, and as always, nobody left the NBC set offended. Even the supposedly unbiased website PolitiFact called Marcus’s statement “Half True”.

“Half True”?

This is exactly what is wrong in this country today – that half-liars even get a seat at the table.

More links from around the web!

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Toke of the Town

India finance minister UFO Facebook post angers “common men”

India's new Finance Minister and Defence Minister Arun Jaitley (L) listens to Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Raghuram Rajan during a financial stability development council meeting in Mumbai June 7, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer

India’s new Finance Minister and Defence Minister Arun Jaitley (L) listens to Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Raghuram Rajan during a financial stability development council meeting in Mumbai June 7, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Stringer

(Reuters) – With many Indians worrying about the threat of tough measures in their new government’s first budget next week, a Facebook post suggesting the finance minister might be pondering less earthly matters quickly roused anger on Wednesday.

Arun Jaitley, a key confidante of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, published a message celebrating “World UFO Day” on his Facebook page, which is one of the main forums in which he publishes official information.

“This day is celebrated to raise awareness about the existence of UFO’s (sic) and with that intelligent beings from outer space,” said the post, which was followed by Jaitley’s name and included a depiction of a flying saucer in a wheat field.

World UFO Day is a day dedicated to spotting and proving the existence of Unidentified Flying Objects. It was first celebrated in 2001, according to the website

A member of Jaitley’s personal staff, who declined to be named, confirmed that their team had posted the message about World UFO Day and said the account had not been hacked. The post was deleted half an hour after Reuters contacted the team.

The post sparked a storm of criticism among his followers and was deleted after a few hours.

“Sir FM, today we the people of India are celebrating the price hike day instead of UFO day,” a Facebook user called V Bhushan Bhushansharma said in a comment on Jaitley’s post, referring to India’s recent moves to raise rail fares and fuel prices.

Modi swept to power in May with a vow to revive India’s economy after the longest spell of growth below 5 percent in a quarter of a century, and he has since warned that the turnaround will involve some “bitter medicine”.

On July 10, Jaitley is expected to unveil a budget that will try to rein in a wide fiscal deficit partly by curbing the government’s high subsidy bill in a country where 70 percent of people live on less than $ 2 a day. He said on Tuesday that “bold steps” were needed to ensure fiscal discipline.

“Sir instead of talking on outer space, please confine your discussion on the hardship faced by common men,” a Facebook user called Ganesh Choudhary said in a comment on Wednesday.

“People are confused and scared about the undefined miseries which are going to heaped upon them in the names of restoring fiscal health of the country.”

Officials in the finance ministry said they had seen the Facebook post and advised the minister’s personal media team to be more careful about what is published on his Facebook account.

Investors have been impressed by Jaitley’s hawkish tone. The benchmark BSE index rose as much as 1.1 percent to an all-time high of 25,810 on Wednesday, surpassing its previous record of 25,735.87 hit on June 11.

(Additional reporting by Manoj Kumar in NEW DELHI; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel and Jeremy Laurence)

Reuters: Oddly Enough

Robillard Named to VP Post at Cartoon Network Studios

Brian Robillard

Brian Robillard

Brian Robillard has been named VP for content business operations for Cartoon Network Studios.

In this newly created role, Robillard is charged with creating strategy, business plans and operating process for emerging multi-platform projects, and he will serve as a key operations executive helping to drive Cartoon Network Studios multi-platform efforts. Robillard will be based in Burbank, Calif., and report directly to Rob Sorcher, chief content officer for Cartoon Network.

Robillard comes to Cartoon Network Studios from NBC Universal, where he served as director of product strategy and development, content distribution. He also has worked at the Disney ABC Television Group as senior manager, product strategy, kids networks; senior manager of digital marketing at Walt Disney Records; and senior manager of online marketing for the Universal Music Group. He began his career as a digital content and product manager for Hopeless/Sub City Records.

Robillard was educated at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti where he studied political science.

Cartoon Network Studios

Cartoon Network Studios

Animation Magazine

Washington Post Supports Ending Criminal Penalties for Marijuana Possession

Last Sunday’s Washington Post included an editorial supporting civil fines for marijuana use, particularly in D.C. The article comes after a similar proposal to the D.C. Council and support from Mayor Vincent Gray. washintonpostThe proposal would remove criminal penalties associated with possession of up to one ounce of marijuana and replace them with a civil fine. After considering public opinion polls, a report by the ACLU, and criminal justice statistics, the Post agrees: possessing marijuana should not make you a criminal.

An all-around better policy, long championed by District lawyer Paul Zukerberg, would be to slap small-time users with a civil fine, which is a measured way to send a message that the government does not condone or tolerate marijuana use. No one’s life would be permanently marred by getting caught with a joint.

Of all the official reactions to changing mores on marijuana, decriminalization is the best.

While we know that simple decriminalization will not solve the problems caused by keeping the marijuana market illegal, the fact that such a major newspaper is coming around is a sure sign of progress.

MPP Blog