Wednesday, September 15, 2021

The Passing of Pat O'Neill

We want to take a minute here to express our appreciation for Patricia O'Neill, Montgomery County School Board member for twenty-three years, who passed away this week at the age of 71. Pat was a true friend of the county who always took her position on the school board seriously; she put time and effort into digging into the topics that faced the board, to see what was really behind them, what the options were, and what the consequences of the options would be. Other board members regarded her as the unofficial "historian" for the school board, as she could explain, off the top of her head, the background of every policy issue that came up.

Our group, Teach the Facts, formed when MCPS came under attack for its new sex-ed curriculum, and we worked with the school board and administration to make sure they understood that the Sturm und Drang of the rightwing rabblerousers was not representative of our community. Conservatives spent a lot of money to see that our county kids didn't learn about gay or transgender people, and we really relied on the courage of the school board to steer the district into a good, healthy direction that a majority of residents and parents wanted.

Pat was an unshakable ally through it all. She was not partisan but considered each issue rationally, and in the case of the sex-ed curriculum she was a solid advocate for comprehensive sex education and the inclusion of relevant and important facts. Her top priority was always the students, and she defended students who came from nontraditional families and also wanted to ensure that other students understood that some of their friends may have a single parent, or step-parents, or parents of the same sex. She also empathized with students who might be gay or transgender and supported the inclusion of material to help them understand themselves, and to help their friends understand them. These changes met with loud, high-profile resistance but Pat and the school board stood their ground and we are all better off for it.

Pat's statements during the board's public comment sessions were wry and insightful, and respectful, no matter what point of view was being expressed. For instance, when a parent once complained that the district did not have enough teachers to teach the new material, Pat thanked them and said she hoped that they would actively work to help increase the district's budget, so they could hire more teachers.

Pat O'Neill served five one-year terms as board president, and six terms as vice-president. Her death is a big loss to the county and she will be missed for a long time.

12 Comments:

Blogger Christine said...

Rest In Peace Pat O'Neill and thanks for your leadership and contributions to MCPS.

September 16, 2021 8:13 AM  
Anonymous Nay Neigh said...

Five people in Oregon landed in the hospital after attempting to ward off, or cure themselves of, COVID-19 with ivermectin, an antiparasitic drug that scientists have explicitly warned against as a COVID-cure. According to the Oregon Health & Science University News, the Oregon Poison Center has dealt with 25 Oregonians who opted to use the unproven drug to try to treat or prevent COVID-19 between Aug. 1 and Sept. 14. Five of them had such adverse reactions to ivermectin, they were admitted to the intensive care unit.

Dr. Robert Hendrickson, medical director of the Oregon Poison Center at Oregon Health & Science University, warned of taking the “unproven and potentially dangerous” drug. He urged health care providers to prescribe “treatments that are already carefully tested and approved.”

Doctors who prescribe this for COVID should be sanctioned. At the very least they should be publicly named so that sane people can avoid going to them.

These people could get a free, effective, easily accessible vaccine that has minimal side effects but they would rather do this. It’s inexplicable. And the politicians are egging them on.

September 18, 2021 4:54 PM  
Anonymous there's a reason that a jackass is the Dem mascot said...

"Doctors who prescribe this for COVID should be sanctioned. At the very least they should be publicly named so that sane people can avoid going to them."

actually, this drug has been prescrid=bed to people for years, for other ailments

it may not work for COVID but the danger is being hyped by jackasses like you

the people hospitalized likely took more than the recommended dose

if would be preferable if a doctor were involved

"These people could get a free, effective, easily accessible vaccine that has minimal side effects but they would rather do this. It’s inexplicable."

we live in a day in age when the information is readily available

if they choose not to get vaccinated, that's their choice

remember, the Supreme Court ruled in Roe v Wade that there is a constitutional right to control over your own body

you favor overturning that?

September 18, 2021 7:29 PM  
Anonymous How ironic said...

All of a sudden GOPers support the notion that people have a constitutional right to control their own bodies.

Glad to see you have come to that realization.







September 19, 2021 11:38 AM  
Anonymous Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose said...

The day we all dreaded has finally arrived: Idaho is in crisis standards of care.

What does that mean to you? Be careful what you do out there.

The hospitals are overwhelmed with unvaccinated COVID-19 patients right now.

The numbers show that nearly every patient in Idaho hospitals and intensive care units with the virus is unvaccinated.

This really is where the argument over health freedom breaks down. The decision to not get vaccinated and not wear a mask allows the novel coronavirus, and now its variants, to spread in the community. Because COVID-19 is so transmissible, so damaging and so deadly, it’s overwhelming our health care system — and that affects everyone.

Everyone.

Already, non-emergency surgeries are being delayed. Doctors who would otherwise perform routine checkups are being called in to help out in the hospitals, meaning you might need to forget about that annual physical or other appointment.

For COVID-19 cases reported in Idaho from May 15 through Sept. 11, 89.9% (39,256 of 43,672 total cases) were among individuals who were not fully vaccinated, according to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. Unvaccinated individuals accounted for 91.1% of COVID-19 hospitalizations (1,683 of 1,847) during that same time period and 88% of deaths (316 of 359).

St. Luke’s reported that 92-94% of its COVID-19 patients in the past week have been unvaccinated. And 95-98% of its COVID-19 patients taking up ICU beds were unvaccinated.

Here’s an even scarier statement, from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare’s strategies during crisis standards of care:

“Universal DNR Order: Adult patients hospitalized during a public health emergency, when crisis standards of care have been declared, should receive aggressive interventions; however, they should receive NO attempts at resuscitation (compressions, shocks or intubation if not yet intubated) in the event of cardiac arrest. The likelihood of survival after a cardiac arrest is extremely low for adult patients. As well, resuscitation poses significant risk to healthcare workers due to aerosolization of body fluids and uses large quantities of scarce resources such as staff time, personal protective equipment, and lifesaving medications, with minimal opportunity for benefit.”

In other words, whether we’ve signed a “do not resuscitate” directive or not, everyone single one of us is now under a DNR directive in Idaho because we’ve reached crisis standards of care due to a deadly and overwhelming surge of unvaccinated COVID-19 patients in our hospitals.

And it’s all entirely preventable.

But please, go ahead, Dare to be Stupid.

https://healthandwelfare.idaho.gov/news/idaho-expands-crisis-standards-care-statewide-due-surge-covid-19-patients-requiring-0

September 19, 2021 12:46 PM  
Anonymous homosexuality never produces life, two of 'em ain't ever a marriage said...

"The day we all dreaded has finally arrived: Idaho is in crisis standards of care.

What does that mean to you? Be careful what you do out there.

The hospitals are overwhelmed with unvaccinated COVID-19 patients right now.

The numbers show that nearly every patient in Idaho hospitals and intensive care units with the virus is unvaccinated.

This really is where the argument over health freedom breaks down. The decision to not get vaccinated and not wear a mask allows the novel coronavirus, and now its variants, to spread in the community."

and, yet, even though it's spreading in the community, only the unvaccinated are getting ill enough to require hospitalization

they made their choice

you really have no right to intervene

"Because COVID-19 is so transmissible, so damaging and so deadly, it’s overwhelming our health care system — and that affects everyone.

Everyone."

because the hospitals are filled?

as you say, their sickness is preventable

set aside a certain percentage of beds for COVID patients

when full, sent them out of state

problem solved

"All of a sudden GOPers support the notion that people have a constitutional right to control their own bodies.

Glad to see you have come to that realization."

well, I'm not a GOPer but I've always believed "that people have a constitutional right to control their own bodies"

however, when two bodies are involved, as in pregnancy, the weaker one is entitled to equal protection under the law

but, how hypocritical of Dems

the only time they support this right is when it is interpreted to allow someone to kill their own child

other than that, they believe the government can invade your body for the "public good"

the Constitution never said constitutional rights are suspended when a bad respiratory ailment is circulating

and the Founders were completely familiar with infectious diseases

this country wasn't founded by Marx and Lenin

September 20, 2021 5:07 AM  
Anonymous I reeeeeeeeally like our Supreme Court.and the best is yet to come!!!!!!! said...

https://www.msn.com/en-us/travel/article/miami-beach-pride-parade-finished-off-sunday-with-e2-80-98fabulous-display-of-creativity-and-pride/ar-AAOBlTS?ocid=uxbndlbing

some revolting antics at the Gay Pride parade in Miami on Sunday

notice that there's not a mask in sight

not one person

homosexuals are super-spreaders

September 20, 2021 5:15 AM  
Anonymous Republicans aren't the solution. Republicans are the problem. said...

All those vaccinated people walking outside and waving rainbow flags...

It must be revolting to you that they can do it safely while all those unvaccinated MAGATs start filling up hospitals after they do the same thing.

September 20, 2021 9:43 AM  
Anonymous 10,262 does not equal zero said...

"only the unvaccinated are getting ill enough to require hospitalization"

There you go, lying again as usual.

Back in August, the Hill reported:

"Utah topped the list, with 0.36 percent or 5,265 breakthrough cases in its 1,462,313 fully vaccinated residents from Jan. 16 until this week. In that period, the state reported approximately 115,000 coronavirus cases."

"Tennessee’s Department of Health references the CDC’s policy in its critical indicator reports, where breakthrough cases with severe outcomes are regularly included. As of July 29, the state had reported 31 breakthrough deaths and 218 breakthrough hospitalizations."

"Illinois reported 714 breakthrough hospitalizations and 180 deaths, representing 2.58 percent of COVID-19 deaths since data collection began in January."

"Nationally, an exceedingly low number of fully vaccinated people have contracted the virus. Out of the 101 million people vaccinated from January through April, the CDC reported 10,262 breakthrough infections in 46 U.S. states and territories. "

September 20, 2021 10:31 AM  
Anonymous Why George Washington mandated vaccines said...

In 1777, the general required his troops to get inoculated for smallpox.

George Washington mandated vaccines against smallpox believing one’s freedom does not mean others should suffer as a consequence.

According to the Library of Congress, presented in an editorial by the Miami Herald, in 1777, the U.S.’s future first president led the first mass military mandatory inoculation.

The inoculation of the Continental Army soldiers was considerably more questionable – back then, soldiers had to volunteer to expose themselves to smallpox, either by scratching it into their arms or inhaling it through their noses, without a guarantee that would be immunity – and some of them died following orders.

“We should have more to dread from it, than from the Sword of the Enemy,” Washington said in regards to the disease.

In modern politics, the concern of public health and safety is sometimes pitted against one’s freedom and the government’s obligation to protect and serve.

While the 18-century mandatory vaccination was risky, it paid off as disease incidence dropped. Thanks to vaccinations, the last natural outbreak of smallpox in the U.S. happened in 1949, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Smallpox was eradicated in the 1980s thanks to the world’s efforts with vaccines, drugs, and diagnostic tests.

What changed the American people’s perspective on mandated vaccinations: public figures combating misinformation, according to the Herald.

Whether it is Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) or celebrities like Jenny McCarthy during the 90s and 2000s or recently Nicki Minaj, vaccination hesitancy disguised as free will clouds some people’s better judgment.

Despite years of evidence that vaccines are effective against measles, mumps, and rubella, as well as controlling or eradicating other diseases, conspiracies about how modern medicine is giving people autism or swollen testicles are all one needs to be turned away from getting vaccinated.

September 20, 2021 1:54 PM  
Anonymous Lyin' GOPers cynical political and media strategy said...

The only thing wrong with the U.S. economy is the failure of the Republican Party to play Santa Claus.
—Jude Wanniski, March 6, 1976


The stock market is falling, a reaction to GOP threats to shut down the government: it’s all part of their plan.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen last week warned us that the GOP is about to use Jude Wanniski’s “Two Santa Clauses” fraud again to damage Biden’s economy and our standing in the world. And, sure enough, Mitch McConnell verified it when he said last week there would be “zero” Republican votes to raise the debt ceiling.

Yellen responded yesterday by telling The Wall Street Journal that if the Republicans force a shutdown of the US government like they did to Obama in 2011, “We would emerge from this crisis a permanently weaker nation.” But the GOP is adamant: they have their strategy and they’re sticking to it.

Here’s how it works, laid it out in simple summary:

First, the Two Santas strategy dictates, when Republicans control the White House they must spend money like a drunken Santa and cut taxes to run up the US debt as far and as fast as possible.

This produces three results: it stimulates the economy thus making people think that the GOP can produce a good economy; it raises the debt dramatically; and it makes people think that Republicans are the “tax-cut Santa Clauses.”

Second, when a Democrat is in the White House, Republicans must scream about the national debt as loudly and frantically as possible, freaking out about how “our children will have to pay for it!” and “we have to cut spending to solve the crisis!” Shut down the government, crash the stock market, and damage US credibility around the world if necessary to stop Democrats from spending money.

This will force the Democrats in power to cut their own social safety net programs and even Social Security, thus shooting their welfare-of-the-American-people Santa Claus right in the face.

And, sure enough, here we are now with a Democrat in the White House. Following their Two Santas strategy, Republicans are again squealing about the national debt and refusing to raise the debt ceiling, imperiling Biden’s economic recovery as well as his Build Back Better plans.

And, once again, the media is covering it as a “Biden Crisis!” rather than what it really is: a cynical political and media strategy devised by Republicans in the 70s, fine-tuned in the 80s and 90s, and rolled out every time a Democrat is in the White House.

September 21, 2021 12:35 PM  
Anonymous The GOPer 1/6 plan to overthrow the 2020 vote said...

There was an actual, documented GOP plan to overturn the 2020 election. Like any point-shaving scandal, the GOP vote suppression plans resemble the ability to throw out legal votes and ballots and reduce the numerical proportions to favor them.

The 1/6 Select Committee might ask some questions of John Eastman about his memo. VP Pence’s unwillingness to follow the blueprint seems now even more important.

John Eastman's memo:

1. VP Pence, presiding over the joint session (or Senate Pro Tempore Grassley, if Pence recuses himself), begins to open and count the ballots, starting with Alabama (without conceding that the procedure, specified by the Electoral Count Act, of going through the States alphabetically is required).

2. When he gets to Arizona, he announces that he has multiple slates of electors, and so is going to defer decision on that until finishing the other States. This would be the first break with the procedure set out in the Act.

3. At the end, he announces that because of the ongoing disputes in the 7 States, there are no electors that can be deemed validly appointed in those States. That means the total number of “electors appointed” – the language of the 12th Amendment -- is 454. This reading of the 12th Amendment has also been advanced by Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe (here). A “majority of the electors appointed” would therefore be 228. There are at this point 232 votes for Trump, 222 votes for Biden. Pence then gavels President Trump as re-elected.

4. Howls, of course, from the Democrats, who now claim, contrary to Tribe’s prior position, that 270 is required. So Pence says, fine. Pursuant to the 12th Amendment, no candidate has achieved the necessary majority. That sends the matter to the House, where the “the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote . . . .” Republicans currently control 26 of the state delegations, the bare majority needed to win that vote. President Trump is re-elected there as well.

5. One last piece. Assuming the Electoral Count Act process is followed and, upon getting the objections to the Arizona slates, the two houses break into their separate chambers, we should not allow the Electoral Count Act constraint on debate to control. That would mean that a prior legislature was determining the rules of the present one — a constitutional no-no (as Tribe has forcefully argued). So someone – Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, etc. – should demand normal rules (which includes the filibuster). That creates a stalemate that would give the state legislatures more time to weigh in to formally support the alternate slate of electors, if they had not already done so.

6. The main thing here is that Pence should do this without asking for permission – either from a vote of the joint session or from the Court. Let the other side challenge his actions in court, where Tribe (who in 2001 conceded the President of the Senate might be in charge of counting the votes) and others who would press a lawsuit would have their past position -- that these are non-justiciable political questions – thrown back at them, to get the lawsuit dismissed. The fact is that the Constitution assigns this power to the Vice President as the ultimate arbiter. We should take all of our actions with that in mind.

September 21, 2021 1:42 PM  

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