Saturday, July 20, 2013

Helen Thomas (1920-2013) dies

Helen Thomas dies


WASHINGTON — One of the pioneers in journalism has died.

Helen Thomas died in her sleep earlier this morning.

Helen Thomas was the irrepressible White House correspondent who used her seat in the front row of history to grill 10 presidents (Obama, both Bushes, Clinton, Reagan, Carter, Ford, Nixon, Johnson and Kennedy) and was not shy about sharing her opinions. She was the "bulldog" for the United Press International, also known as UPI.

Her disdain for White House secrecy and dodging bridged five decades. Her freedom to voice her peppery opinions as a speaker and a Hearst columnist came late in her career.

The Bush administration ostracized her, clearly angry with a journalist who had dared to challenge President George W. Bush to his face on his outright lies about the Iraq war — which lead to 4,500+ needless deaths — and declared him the worst president in United States history.

After she quit UPI in 2000, her influence waned.

Thomas was accustomed to getting under the skin of presidents, if not to the cold shoulder.

President Barack H. Obama, who shared a birthday with Mrs. Thomas for 51 years, reflected on her life in a press conference today.

"What made Helen the 'dean of the White House Press Corps' was not just the length of her tenure, but her fierce belief that our democracy works best when we ask tough questions and hold our leaders to account," said President Obama, the last president she covered, in a statement Saturday.

In her long career, she was indelibly associated with the ritual ending White House news conferences. She was often the one to deliver the closing line: "Thank you, Mister President" - four polite words that belied a fierce competitive streak.

"If you want to be loved," she said years earlier, "go into something else."

She would have been 93 years old in 15 days.

[WLTX-HD News 19]

Women handle stress better than men, SUNY study says


BUFFALO, NY — A new study on handling stress is out and women clearly handle it better than men.

A study released last week by the State University of New York's Buffalo campus finds that men tend to react with the "fight or flight" response, women generally turn to the less aggressive "tend and befriend" response. In other words, while men might respond to a stressful situation by lashing out or completely avoiding the issue, women are more likely to seek out social support.

SUNYB researchers found that the hormone estrogen has a protective effect on the brain that causes female rats to respond better to repeated stress exposure than male rats.

"We have examined the molecular mechanism underlying gender-specific effects of stress," said the study's senior author Zhen Yan, PhD, a professor in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics at the University at Buffalo, in a press release. "Previous studies have found that females are more resilient to chronic stress and now our research has found the reason why."

"If we could find compounds similar to estrogen that could be administered without causing hormonal side effects," said Yan in the press release, "they could prove to be a very effective treatment for stress-related problems in males."

[Huffington Post Women]

A NEW War on Texas Women: 42-day abortion ban introduced in second half of second special session


AUSTIN — The ink hasn't even had time to dry off Gov. Rick Perry's signing of a law that leaves women without health care for 675 miles in some cases, but Dewhurst and the Texas legislature is not done yet.

Less than a day after a disgusting display that saw a bunch of old white women join Gov. Perry in confiscating the uteruses of all Texas women of childbearing age, Texas now aims to be like North Dakota as the GOP have now introduced a 42-day abortion ban.

The new measure would ban abortion long before women even know they are pregnant.

The pro-choice community, already galvanized in record numbers over the 48-hour old law that essentially shuts down 42 of the state's 47 clinics, mandates doctors to sexually assault their patients and ban abortion after 20 weeks, are already getting the word out about this bill.

The ban is so extreme, that some anti-choice organizations give these bans an extraordinarily rare "thumbs down".

North Dakota's law is already in court. Arkansas has a 12-week ban on abortions that is also being challenged in court. So far, all of these laws have been struck down in every court, except the Fifth Circuit.

[Think Progress]
[The Frisky]

Woman dies on Six Flags ride


ARLINGTON, TX — A woman is dead after she fell (literally) from an amusement park ride.

The Dallas mother plunged to her untimely end on Friday evening after the safety belt in her device became undone in the Texas Giant.

The Six Flags location was closed on Saturday as the family mourned. All events scheduled for this weekend have been cancelled.

Six Flags Over Texas spokeswoman Sharon Parker assured the New York Daily News and other media outlets that they are using every resource to determine how the mother met her death on The Texas Giant, which — at 51 yards — is considered the world's tallest steel-wood hybrid roller-coaster. That is slightly longer than half a football field.

"My mom! My mom! Let us out, we need to go get her!" yelled her daughter and son.

Medical staff and paramedics responded immediately but nothing could be done to revive her. Other park-goers watched the graphic, grizzly fall with their own eyes.

She was pronounced dead immediately.

"My prayers are with the family of the woman who lost her life today at the Arlington Six Flags. I am deeply sorry for this tragedy," said pop singer Bridgit Mendler, who voluntarily cancelled her appearance.

[New York Daily News]

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